Rich Like Us

Nayantara Sahgal, Author W. W. Norton & Company $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-393-02309-1
The focal characters of this novel, set in New Delhi during the turbulences provoked by Indira Gandhi's sterilization campaign and state of emergency, are two womenone Indian, the other Cockney Englishlong-time, deeply devoted friends. Sonali is Oxford-bred, cultured, a scholar and former civil servant infamously betrayed out of a promising career in government; Rose is the second wife of Ram, a Kashmiri businessman laid low by a stroke. Very different in background, they are profoundly related by the fact that they are women in a society that affords little recourse to a native daughter and no legal rights whatever to the second wife in a polygamous household. Rose is in fact murdered because she might constitute a threat to male dominance; but the resourceful Sonali is able to apply her learning to a fresh start. The novel, which teems with the actualities of life in Indiacorruption, injustice, bureaucratic finaglingis wonderfully set apart by a fine, clear, disenchanted eye and an acerbic moral intelligence that is devastating without ever raising its voice. (April 21)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1986
Release date: 05/01/1986
Paperback - 236 pages - 978-0-8112-1078-2
Hardcover - 236 pages - 978-0-434-66610-2
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